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27 photos that give an inside look at one of the biggest criminal enterprises on the planet

By Kevin Loria of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 26: <p> The illegal wildlife trade is one of the largest criminal enterprises on the planet.</p><p> In fact, the <a href="https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2014/May/wildlife-crime-worth-8-10-billion-annually.html"> United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranks wildlife trafficking</a> alongside the drug trade, arms dealing, and human trafficking in terms of illicit profits. A <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-717">new report by the US Government Accountability Office</a> estimates that the illegal wildlife trade "is worth an estimated $7 billion to $23 billion annually - and is pushing some animals to the brink of extinction."</p><p> Animals are sold as pets, consumed as delicacies, and used to create traditional medicines all around the globe.</p><p> Scroll through these photos for an inside look at animals that have been rescued.</p>

The illegal wildlife trade is one of the largest criminal enterprises on the planet.

In fact, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranks wildlife trafficking alongside the drug trade, arms dealing, and human trafficking in terms of illicit profits. A new report by the US Government Accountability Office estimates that the illegal wildlife trade "is worth an estimated $7 billion to $23 billion annually - and is pushing some animals to the brink of extinction."

Animals are sold as pets, consumed as delicacies, and used to create traditional medicines all around the globe.

Scroll through these photos for an inside look at animals that have been rescued.

© REUTERS/Murdani Usman

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